Saturday, May 31, 2008

1st day of chemo in the books...

Paul started receiving his first dose of chemotherapy last night about 10pm. There are a total of five different drugs that will make up his treatment. Already he is starting to experience the nausea associated with the chemo. He had no desire to eat before that, but coupled with the nausea it is even worse. Fruit and ice cream are about the only things that he can stomach. Paul was given a new lesson on how to care for his teeth last night also. He has to brush with a soft foam toothbrush and uses a special mouthwash. One of the medications he is taking may cause sores in his mouth and they don't want anything to aggravate that. There are many other side effects he is and will soon be experiencing that aren't very pleasant - but he is handling them so well right now. The nurses take his blood daily so he still has lots of bruising from all of the samples he has given in the last week. I will say Paul isn't known for his pain tolerance, but so far I am very proud of him. : )

Today we escaped his room and wandered the 5th floor. They encourage Paul to get out and walk around, but he has to wear a mask and gloves to guard against any germs. We also watched a couple of episodes of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Other than that he napped most of the day. Tomorrow he has requested one of his favorite dvds - Lord of the Rings. I think I'll be napping during that one!

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Etsy shop...

I am looking at reopening my Etsy shop towards the end of Paul's 1st round of chemo. So I am aiming for the end of June. I will be working on new designs and also gift sets with matching wooden hangers. Keep an eye out!

The doctors say that Paul will be out of work for 8-12 months - so I will need to contribute all I can.

4 weeks and counting...

So Paul is all settled into his new private room! Yay. He had to share overnight with someone and wasn't appreciating his roommate watching tv at 2am. He is getting a blood transfusion to boost his levels before chemo begins. Today Dr. Wadleigh will come and talk to us more in depth about what chemotherapy really involves. She didn't want to overload us with information last night. And my wonderful sister is watching Alayna so that I can stay the night with Paul.

For those of you asking for the address to send Paul stuff I finally am able to give you an answer.
The only thing they will not accept on this floor is fresh flowers.

Brigham and Womens Hospital
75 Francis St.
5B - 38 Paul Wassell
Boston, MA 02115

Have a wonderful weekend everyone - and hold your loved ones tight!


Paul will be starting chemo tonight.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A rare bird...

We have been waiting - not so patiently - to finally hear a confirmed diagnosis. From the bone marrow biopsy they did they have run a total of 3 different tests, held conferences between the doctors, and many discussions back and forth. They will now say that Paul has Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia. So they can't pin his cancer on one specific one but will treat him for Leukemia. Dr. Wadleigh called Paul "a rare bird" as this doesn't affect many people.

Paul's platelet levels fell to 10,000 so he was given another transfusion. He has been moved to the Oncology floor of the hospital. On Friday morning he will be receiving a Pickman line in his chest. And on Saturday he will begin his first round of chemotherapy. He will be in the hospital for the next four weeks while undergoing the chemo. After that he will continue with out patient treatments and will need to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Since Paul has no siblings they will look for a match on the registry.

Paul is happy to be moving forward with his treatment but is already feeling the effects of his disease. It has come on quick. He gets winded easily, you can hear it when he speaks. He is very lethargic and naps most of the day. He still has no appetite and needs to be reminded to eat his meals.

We would like to thank everyone again for all of the kind emails and phone calls. Paul will not be able to have visitors for the next month so these help to brighten his day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who needs navigation...

Today began and ended pretty good for Alayna and I. We actually made it to the hospital and home again without getting lost once! Boston is so confusing and the navigation is not helpful with the never ending construction going on. But in our journeys in trying to find the hospital we have seen much of Cambridge, Harvard, and Fenway. :p

While Paul was waiting for us to get there he was taken for an echocardiogram. We spent half the day with him watching movies. Two different surgeons came in his room to palpate his lymph nodes trying to see which are enlarged or "juicy" as they say. They had wanted to schedule his lymph node biopsy for tomorrow, but luckily Dr. Wadleigh decided there was no hurry on that and cancelled it. Paul was very happy to hear that. He was not looking forward to going under anesthesia. We are still waiting for some conclusive results - and it's very hard playing the waiting game. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some news so we can get going with treatment.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day...

We hope that you have enjoyed a beautiful day wherever you are!

Today Alayna, Vinnie, and myself drove down to Boston to see Paul. The doctors had decided to go forth with the bone marrow biopsy today. Paul was quite anxious about the procedure - but luckily it went much smoother, and less painful than he thought. They did it right there in his room. He had to lie on his stomach and they extracted the samples out of his hip bone. They need to let the sample sit in some solution for 24 hours before they can read it.

Dr. Neal introduced a new possibility as far as Paul's prognosis is concerned. Another biopsy on his lymph node may have to be performed before they can say, but it may be Lymphoma instead of Leukemia. I don't know much about it at this point but Dr. Neal said it would be the better scenario of the two. Lymphoma would not require such a strong round of chemotherapy and the success rate of overcoming it is much higher. Also he would not have to be in the hospital as long.
So we are now praying Paul has Lymphoma - which sounds quite weird to say!

I snapped a cute picture of Alayna happy to see her Daddy.


We want to thank everyone who has emailed or called us - your love and support is very much appreciated!

Amanda, Paul, & Alayna

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Etsy shop...

As of May 24th my Etsy shop has been temporarily closed. I have hopes to reopen it soon!


Hello everyone,

I know that I have spoken with some of you very recently concerning Paul, and there are others we haven't reached yet.

Paul has been admitted to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston as of yesterday. The most probable diagnosis is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. He is scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday to confirm what they already believe. At this point they say he will be here in the hospital for atleast a month and will be starting intensive chemotherapy on Friday.

We learned of all of this within a very short 24 hour period. Paul had not really been feeling his usual self for the last couple of weeks. He was more tired than usual, eating less, unexplained bloody nose, joint pains, etc. I finally convinced him to go and see a doctor on Friday. They saw him about 1:30 that afternoon and drew some blood as they couldn't find any physical evidence of anything wrong. At 10:15 that same night one of the doctors from that practice called to speak with Paul concerning the lab results. He told us that Paul needed to be admitted to the hospital because his blood platelet count was extremely low. Normal platelet count is around 120,000 and Paul's was about 12,000. So we left Alayna with my sister and headed to Elliot Hospital in Manchester. They drew more blood and his levels had dropped to 9,000. He was given a platelet transfusion at 4:30 Saturday morning. At 9am the hematologist came in to discuss the new blood work and a smear they had done. He then told us he was pretty positive Paul had Leukemia. This information obviously floored us. That is when they started to make arrangements to get Paul down to Boston. There are still a ton of different scenarios and how this can play out. We are hopeful, as are the doctors, that Paul can overcome this.

We would appreciate if you could keep us in your thoughts as we go down this new path.

Amanda, Paul, & Alayna